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2018年06月03日
I sincerely advise him not to force


Spencer, defending his method, says: “A solution reached in the way described, is more likely to be true than one reached in pursuance of a de-ter-mined effort to find a solution. The de-ter-mined effort causes perversion of thought. When endeavoring to recol-lect some name or thing which has been for-got-ten, it frequently happens that the name or thing sought will not arise in con-scious-ness; but when attention is relaxed, the missing name or thing often suggests itself. While thought continues to be forced down certain wrong turnings which had originally been taken, the search is vain; but with the cessation of strain the true association of ideas has an op-por-tunity of asserting itself. And, similarly, it may be that while an effort to arrive forthwith at some answer to a problem md senses aqua peel, acts as a distorting factor in con-scious-ness and causes error, a quiet contemplation of the problem from time to time, allows those proclivities of thought which have probably been caused unawares by experiences, to make themselves felt, and to guide the mind to the right conclusion.”

Spencer’s first argument, that an effort to recollect something is often without results, while the thing is remembered later when we are not trying to think of it, is true as to fact. But it does not show that the effort was unfruitful. As pointed out in the discussion of association, one idea is associated with not only one other idea but with an entire group. This may give a possible explanation of why it is so often difficult to recollect anything when we make a determined effort. The attempt partly arouses a whole cluster of ideas, each of which tends to return, but is prevented from doing so by all the others. It is analogous to a crowd of people all struggling to get through a narrow doorway wedding event management. They cause such a jam that for a time no one succeeds. When the pushing and jostling cease one person at a time is able to pass through. When effort is abandoned, probably all but one of the associates become dormant, and this one slides into con-scious-ness at the slightest provocation.

Whether or not this explanation is true, it is a fact that though an effort may not produce results at the time, still if it had not been made, the associate which finally comes to mind would probably never have occurred at all. The reader has possibly found that when learning some skilled movement, such as bicycle riding, skating or swimming, his first attempts seemed without result, but after an interval of a week or a month, when trying again, he suddenly discovered that he could do what he wanted from the very start. Surely no one would contend that this could happen without the previous effort pico laser!

I must also question Spencer’s remark that “with the cessation of strain the true association of ideas has an opportunity of asserting itself.” The brain has no hidden mechanism by which it can separate the true from the false. To be sure, if we use no effort the most usual and strongest associations will be more likely to assert themselves, and it may be that often these will have more warrant than unusual and weaker associations. Outside of this, there is no superiority.

But the main reason why we cannot follow the method of Herbert Spencer is that we are not all Herbert Spencers. His thought naturally tended to serious and useful channels. Consequently he did not have to force it there. If the reader is one of those rare and fortunate beings whose thoughts run only to useful subjects, and who always con-cen-trate from pure spontaneous interest, himself. And if such a being happens to be reading the present chapter I assure him he is criminally wasting his time, and that he should drop the book or turn to the next chapter with all possible haste. But if the reader numbers himself with the miserable majority whose minds are ever running away with them, he will find it necessary to use effort in thinking—at least for a while.

[ 投稿者:Forgetting is really hard at 10:43 | お友 | コメント(0) | トラックバック(0) ]

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